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I have to do in-depth observations for 303 and I was trying to decide on the best way to record ( on paper) what the child is saying. Do I need a chart or just plenty of paper and do I recoed what everyone else says or? I tried making a chart but how big do you do the spaces or do you just write and write and write?

Please help I think I did to much sunbathing and the sun has addled my brain.


Many thanks

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Hi Phil

It depends on what nformation you wish to capture and your personal preference I enjoy using a camera and paper to record information but this is not always ideal if you also need to be actively involved another way of observing is by tracking

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Sorry don't know what 303 is, guessing it's an NVQ unit.


Obs on language; I would write a narrative ie:


adult " whats said"

child1 "what's said"

Child 2 "what's said"

Adult "what's said"



If you feel unconfident on getting everything said noted down, maybe have a dictaphone / recorder available to back up / record, what you missed.


Sometimes when noting conversation I might just note, talked about .....football game


It depends on the focus of your observation, if it's to note speech then the actual speech needs to be recorded ie: " I done football practice and scored a goal" ( not what he meant/ should have said "I did football practice etc")


Language observations are very useful for showing understanding of concepts, how a child thinks, what a child understands, as well as their grammatics and their pronounciation skills.


Hope this helps, Have a look in the articles section there is a comprehensive article about observation and assessment including example observation formats.


any more queries, just ask.



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I used to use computer print out paper for narrative obs. It was big and you could just reel it off. Its difficult to write every word everyone says so make sure you have time allocated at the end of the ob period to fill in the gaps, you'll be surprised how much is safely stored in your head. Use your own variation of shorthand too, I used CH as child with numbers addded for however many were there, A with a circle was adult at the activity and A without a circle was incidental. Others I made up as I went along.

Try a few practice sessions too, get into the flow. :o

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